Escape to the Beach, Return to Run

IMG_3580Another full weekend to kick off a shortened work week! Above, RO and I post-5K on Sunday. More below! This week, both October 31st and November 1st are national holidays: Día de las Iglesias Evangélicas y Protestantes and Día de Todos los Santos, respectively. The first is a recently established holiday: only nationally recognized within in the past few years. While the long weekend is an opportune time for me to travel, tickets – both bus and plane – are very expensive and I plan to stay in Santiago and the surrounding area to save my money for a bigger trip some other time. Pucón anyone?

This past weekend, I went to the beach for the first time since arriving. RO, MM, PA, and I bought round trip bus tickets to Viña del Mar and spent the day hanging out in the city and relaxing on the beach. The weather wasn’t ideal, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. In Santiago, when we left, it was between 85F and 90F and brilliantly sunny: so much so that RO and I swapped seats on the bus because the sun was beating down on us through the window so strongly. When we wound our way through the hills and arrived in Viña, however, it was foggy and much colder. People were wearing pants and jackets and scarves, and here we were in our bathing suits and shorts. Oops. Wrapped in sweaters, we took a walk along the coast and found a Peruvian restaurant to have lunch. Oh, and ate ice cream afterwards! Chileans love their ice cream and I’m more than happy to follow along. Dad, you would like it here! I still haven’t found a milkshake to beat yours, though.

IMG_3555 IMG_3556 IMG_3558We saw Valparaiso briefly on the bus ride, and it’s one of the places I would really like to spend a weekend in. I’m not sure when I’ll go, but hopefully soon! Bus tickets are cheap, the bus ride is only a little more than an hour, and there are plenty of places to stay. I’ve heard such awesome things about it, and the pictures I’ve seen from RO and JR only reinforce that I want to spend some time there.

Sunday morning, I was awake early and lacing up my sneakers for the McDonald’s Women’s 5K with RO. It was an awesome event!

IMG_3573Held in and around Parque Bicentenario in Vitacura (click “Galería Fotográfica” for pictures), a neighborhood close to mine, it was an all-women’s event. 10% of the proceeds were donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities in Chile. Ronald McDonald Houses can be found in 62 countries around the world, and are safe havens for families to call home while their child undergoes hospital treatment nearby. I had never been to a race where so many people wore their race shirts for the actual run! We each got a free polera|shirt and I was amazed at how many women were wearing them when I arrived. RO and I had registered early, and I had left my shirt at home and opted for a tank top instead. Luckily, I still wore pink so I didn’t stand out too much!

IMG_3580It’s been a while since I’ve run regularly, and I’m finally getting back into it while I’m here on co-op. I ran on the fast side of my goal, and was thrilled to finish and have no old injuries come back. I was so happy to be there, and finish, and to do it with a friend. There was so much energy that it was hard not to enjoy yourself post-race!

Unfortunately, the air quality here is sub-par, with smog being a big problem, and I can feel it every day, especially when running. It’s hard for me to imagine that some people live their whole lives breathing it. I’m grateful to have grown up breathing fresh air, it’s definitely something I had taken for granted. Another thing that I’ve had to be careful of is sun exposure: the UV index is insanely high here, each and every day. I’ve always been one to forgo sunscreen… As bad as I know this habit is, I barely burn and always “forget.” Here, though, I know I need to wear it frequently: almost every person I’ve seen has scars on their arms, neck, or face revealing potential skin cancer spots that were removed. It’s scared me enough that I’ve committed to protecting myself as best I can, no matter what the forecast. That meant loading up on waterproof sunscreen before heading out to run!IMG_3585

All in all, another successful weekend. Good luck to those at Drexel prepping for A round! If you’re looking to co-op abroad and have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me: I’m happy to help in any way I can.


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